Fresh facts have emerged over the recent clash between men of the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigeria Police and some personnel of the Nigerian Army in Ibbi area of Taraba State.
Recall that the two security agencies have been at loggerheads over the killings of some cops in Taraba State penultimate week ago.
However, latest revelation by the Taraba Truth and Justice Committee showed that there might be a political dimension to the clash.
According to the group, the clash might not be unconnected with the ongoing power tussle between the All Progressives Congress, APC, senatorial candidate, Ishaku Bauka, and his Peoples Democratic Party’s counterpart, Emmanuel Bwacha, that won the election.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee said it was able to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that indeed what happened in Ibbi was a fall out of a political disagreement between two prominent politicians who have been trying to outsmart each other using the instrument of the Nigeria Police Force.
In an investigative report released by the group on Friday, the group said the kidnap suspect, Hamisu Wadume might be working for one of the politicians, hence, the clash between the security agencies.
The report signed by its President, Josiah Kifasi, called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency invite top politicians from Taraba South Senatorial District for questioning on what they know about the activities of Hamisu Wadume.
The report reads in full.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee a select committee was set up by concerned stakeholders in Taraba state to unravel the mystery surrounding events that led to the death of three IRT operatives who went on a mission to the effect that arrest of an alleged kidnapping kingpin Hamisu Wadume in Taraba state.
The committee was mandated amongst other things to reveal the identities of the key actors in the skirmish, with the view to putting issues in proper perspective and to aid the presidential investigative panel in the task ahead of them.
Consequently, the Taraba Truth and Justice Committee carried out a detailed investigation on the security concerns in Taraba state by interacting with identified key players within Ibbi community and Jalingo the state capital. Critical stakeholders in the state were consulted, and their opinions and positions put side by side with the prevailing realities.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee were able to establish that the incident in Ibbi was not a happenstance. It is a result of a history of political gladiators wielding their powers in a bid to outsmart each other. This is on the heels that the battle for the control of Taraba South Senatorial district is a significant factor that might have led to the skirmishes that resulted recently.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee were not able to fully establish the fact that Hamisu Wadume is a kidnapper. Though he lives a questionable lifestyle, he is known to be a supporter of political party bigwigs in the state, especially in Taraba South Senatorial District. His known source of livelihood as it were was fish selling and how he was able to amass wealth requires further investigations by the relevant authorities.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee were able to identify some grey areas where the relationship between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army went soar in the security architecture of the state.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee were able to establish the fact that there is an ongoing battle of supremacy between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army in Taraba state.
The fiercely contested elections in Taraba South Senatorial District between Emmanuel Bwacha of the People’s Democratic Party and Ishaku Bauka of the All Progressives Congress might have some security implications in the district, which houses to house Ibbi.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee were able to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that indeed what happened in Ibbi is a fall out of a political disagreement between two prominent politicians who have been trying to outsmart each other using the instrument of the Nigerian Police Force.
It can thus be stated that selfish politicians in the state are responsible for the level of insecurity experienced in the state. They have spared no cost or method, including buying the Nigerian Police over to achieve their political agenda.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee states that after an extensive deliberations and interactions, Hamisu Wadume might be working for one of the politicians, which in turn gave the politician undue advantage over the other and as such the Nigerian Police was called in to effect his arrest in an attempt to whittle the political power Hamisu Wadume brings to the table for his paymaster.
This is also on the heels that Hamisu Wadume commands significant grassroots following due to his generous nature, and with this advantage, he has been able to play himself into a position of strength and relevance in the political arena.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee were able to establish that part of the issue in the state in the build-up to the 2023 gubernatorial elections where the battle to succeed the incumbent governor has started in earnest. So as such politicians with interest have begun making ways for the actualizing of their political ambitions and one of such ways it was established is a clampdown of those loyal to their perceived opponents.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee after a painstaking process, regrettably conclude that the activities of selfish politicians in the state if not curtailed might turn Taraba state into a killing field. The fact that there is an unholy alliance between the Nigerian Police in Taraba State and politicians portends great danger for the sustenance of peace and tranquillity in the state.
The Taraba Truth and Justice Committee in light of the avalanche of information at its disposal with regards to the unfortunate incident in Ibbi that led to the death of three police officers attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team, as a result of this make the following recommendations:
That the federal government should as a matter of urgency invite top politicians from Taraba South Senatorial District for questioning on what they know about the activities of Hamisu Wadume.
That the federal government should investigate the closeness of the hierarchy of the Taraba State Police Command to top politicians in the state and why it took the intervention of the members of the IRT from Abuja to effect an arrest in Taraba state.
The Federal government must mandate the Taraba state government to provide answers on why the activities of political thugs fester unhindered in the state.
That there should be sweeping deployments of police and army officers in the state with immediate effect.
Reps Ask Committee On Police Affairs To Investigate Invasion Of Joy Nunieh’s Home
The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Police Affairs to investigate the circumstances surrounding the invasion of the home of the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joy Nunieh.
The resolution was reached during plenary on Thursday following a matter of urgent public importance raised by the Deputy Majority Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who queried the motive behind the invasion.
The lawmaker believes the action was done to prevent her from giving her testimony before the House committee on the NDDC.
Armed security operatives surrounded the home of Joy Nunieh, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital at about 4 a.m on July 16, 2020, in an attempt to break into her apartment for hours without success.
Ms. Nunieh reached out to the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike who swiftly responded to her distress call and came with his aides to challenge and stop the attempted arrest.
Wike eventually asked the operatives to leave the former NDDC MD’s premise, an order which was grudgingly complied with.
Afterwards, the governor asked Ms. Nunieh to get into a vehicle in which she was transported back to the State House where she is currently taking refuge.
Narrating her ordeal to newsmen, the ex-NDDC boss thanked the governor for his intervention, saying Wike is a man of his word.
According to Ms. Nunnieh, the security operatives stormed her residence at about 4 a.m that day with the intent to whisk her away but she refused because they did not have a warrant.
Terrified, she then reached out to Governor Wike but was not able to get through the first time because his number was switched off.
“I tried to reach him but the phones were switched off, so I called some people and they said these people might not be real policemen.
“They said they (security operatives) came to take me away, I said for what? Do they have a warrant for arrest? They said no warrant of arrest, so I left it.
“About 6 a.m they broke the gate and later Senator Magnus Abe now called me that he had reached the Commissioner of Police who said he didn’t know anything about it (the arrest).
“So the CP called, I sent him my address, they told me the CP was downstairs but the CP was not downstairs, it was the Deputy Commissioner who was around; so I opened the door, they wanted to grab me, I now pushed back the door and locked it.
“I got through to my governor, they tried to break the back door, its a security door so they kept hitting for over one hour and they couldn’t get access.
“So my governor came, asked them for their warrant of arrest and why they did not invite me to the police, that I will come, instead of going to take a woman like a criminal.
“So, the governor took me in his car and here I am refuging in the Government House.
“I want to thank his excellency for keeping to his word that nothing should happen to the daughter of Rivers State,” Ms. Nunieh narrated.
NDDC Spent 1.3trn Between 2015 And 2019 – Senate Report
The Senate ad hoc committee investigating financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Thursday said the agency had spent N1.3 trillion within four years, with some of the spending unlawful.
The committee revealed the figure during the presentation of its investigative report before the Senate days after the acting NDDC Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, slumped at a public hearing.
In the report read by the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, the NDDC spent the N1.3 trillion between 2015 and May 31, 2019.
Many of the expenses, Adetunmbu said, were extra-budgetary.
He added that the Committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.
He said the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.
The investigation further revealed that the NDDC paid 4.9 billion Naira to staff for numerous allowances including COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.
Curiously, the payment for overseas travel and scholarship was during the lockdown and cessation of flights abroad.
The committee also observed that the ministry of Niger delta is culpable if negligent supervision of the NDDC.
It further noted that the performance of the interim management committee IMC is a major issue as the record of the IMC has not shown any record of prudence and it should be dissolved.
The committee also raised an alarm over the forensic audit called for by President Buhari, stating that it is at a rudimentary level with the recruitment of the auditors still underway even after eight months.
Buhari Orders Speedy Investigation Into NDDC Corruption Scandal
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a speedy and coordinated investigation into the corruption scandal in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
He explained that the President gave the directive for better coordination among security and investigating agencies with the National Assembly.
Shehu believes this will ensure that the effort of the present administration to bring sanity, transparency, and accountability to the management of the large amount of resources dedicated to the development of the Niger Delta sub-region is not derailed.
He stated that the President has noted the unfolding drama, including attacks and counterattacks between and around persons, institutions, and the NDDC.
“President Buhari expressed his strong determination to get to the root of the problem undermining the development of the Niger Delta and its peoples in spite of enormous national resources voted year after year for this singular purpose,” the statement said.
It added, “According to the directive, auditing firms and investigative agencies working in collaboration with National Assembly Committees to resolve the challenges in the NDDC must initiate actions in a time-bound manner and duly inform the Presidency of the actions being taken.”
A Chain Of Drama
President Buhari also directed the timely sharing of information and knowledge in a way that would speedily assist the administration to identify what had gone wrong in the past and what should be done to make corrections in order to return the NDDC to its original mandate of making life better for people in Niger Delta.
The President also gave a firm assurance that his administration would put in place a transparent and accountable governance framework, not only in the NDDC but in all other institutions of government.
Prior to the directive for a speedy and coordinated investigation, the corruption scandal in the NDDC had triggered a series of drama, blames, and counter-accusations among others.
Amid the controversy, the National Assembly probed the allegation of fraud said to have been perpetrated by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the agency.
This led to another round of exchange of blame between the former IMC led by Dr Joy Nunieh and Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei over the discrepancies in the NDDC’s 2019 budget.
The controversy took a new twist on Thursday when a team of security operatives stormed Nunieh’s residence in Port Harcourt in an attempt to arrest her.
Nunieh, however, reached out to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who swiftly responded to her distress call and came with his aides to challenge and stop the attempted arrest.
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